Taped from Albany, GA (Taped? Oh yeah…NBA playoffs…bye-bye ratings win.)
Airdate: April 29, 1996 (taped 4/22)
Attendance: 8,040 (6,381 paid)
Hosted by Eric Bischoff, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and Steve “Mongo” McMichael
Match 1 for the WCW World tag team titles: The “Total Package” Lex Luger & Sting (champions) versus Harlem Heat
Once again, the tag champs came to the ring with Sting’s music rather than the theme song to the WWF Superstar line.
According to Eric, the winner of BattleBowl at Slamboree will get a World title shot in June. Keep that in mind after the PPV.
Interesting tidbit: Since RAW was live this week, Eric couldn’t run down their results.
Booker T delivered a standing sidekick to Sting.
Sting ducked a clothesline and delivered one of his own to Booker T.
Slam and elbow drop only got 1 for Sting.
Double back elbow by the champs to Booker T.
Double clothesline by the champs only got 1 on Stevie Ray.
Dropkick by Sting to Booker T allowed him to tag out.
Luger leaped from the second turnbuckle and hit a double axe handle.
Back from commercial break, Booker T hit a sidewalk slam followed by a spinaroonie.
Next, Booker T hit the Harlem sidekick.
Bicycle kick by Stevie Ray got 2.
Double clothesline put both Sting and Booker T down on the mat.
Interesting tidbit #2: Slamboree will be on May 19. Methinks an historical moment in wrestling history took place, but not for WCW. Stay tuned.
Hot tag Luger.
Powerslam by Luger to Booker T, but Stevie Ray entered the ring.
As Sting confronted him, Stevie Ray tossed Sting outside the ring.
As Stevie Ray held Luger up in a backbreaker, Booker T mounted the top turnbuckle and hit Luger in the back with an elbow as Stevie Ray finished the powerbomb.
Suddenly, Jimmy Hart ran to ringside and threw in the towel.
Booker T caught it nullifying Hart’s submission.
Outside the ring, Stevie Ray hoisted Hart up and tossed him into the ring.
Just as Booker T was going to send Hart straight into 1997, Sting rolled him up and got the pin.
Summary: While Harlem Heat didn’t get humiliated by a towel loss, Hart outsmarted them with distraction costing them the title.
The replay is sponsored by The Great White Hype.
Match 2: The Steiners versus Fire & Ice
For those unaware, Fire & Ice were Scott “Flapjack” “Flash” Norton and Ice Train.
After an impressive leapfrog, Ice Train gave Rick a powerslam.
He followed that up with an avalanche.
Avalanche #2 missed however.
Immediately Rick grabbed Ice Train and delivered a German release suplex.
More than likely against his will, Scott gave Norton a T-bone suplex.
Overhead belly-to-belly suplex by Scott sent Norton outside the ring.
Scott mounted the top turnbuckle but got caught and slammed.
After eating a pair of clotheslines from Norton, Scott guillotined him on the top rope.
As Norton whipped Rick into the steel railing outside the ring, Ice Train military-press slammed Scott inside of it.
Scott tried a butterfly suplex on Ice Train, but Norton clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor.
Rick clotheslined Ice Train out of his boots for the pin.
Summary: High-impact wrestling at its finest. Unfortunately, in my opinion, Fire & Ice were not on the same level as the Steiners. They need to be built up on Worldwide and WCW Saturday Night before being taken seriously.
At the entrance, “Mean” Gene Okerlund misuses the term literally again before interviewing the 13-time World Champion Flair. Woman and Elizabeth join the champ. Simultaneously, Flair runs down both the Giant and Savage albeit subtly. Flair asks both women who the man is, and they both say Flair.
Promo for…what is this? A movie premiere? Blood runs cold?
Ad for the WCW Magazine.
Match 3 (parking lot brawl): Lord Steven Regal versus the Belfast Bruiser
Joined in progress Bruiser rammed Regal face-first into the hood of a car.
He then tried to make Regal toothless with a kick but instead put his foot through the passenger window of a subcompact.
Bruiser tried to use some concrete on Regal, but the latter made him drop it then rubbed his face in it.
A head shot to the rear bumper followed by shots with a spare tire put Regal down on the pavement.
A candidate for Brisco Brothers Auto Body got involved as the Bruiser rammed Regal into its front bumper knocking it off completely.
Bruiser then rammed the end of the bumper into Regal’s midsection.
After receiving a slam to the hood of a Toyota truck, Regal laid some stiff kicks to the back.
He then rammed the Bruiser’s head into the hood of another truck then gave him an elbow drop.
Bruiser retaliated by choking Regal with a seat belt strap.
After putting Regal in a fireman’s carry, the Bruiser made Regal taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the kickin’ chicken at Austin’s Firegrill and Oyster Bar.
A clothesline by Regal sent the Bruiser into the bed of the Toyota truck.
Next, the Bruiser rammed Regal head-first into the side mirror of the subcompact.
Another window was shattered on the subcompact.
After the Bruiser laid Regal out on the hood of the Toyota, he gave Regal an elbow drop.
Bruiser tried a tombstone piledriver, but Regal wriggled free.
With both men on the hood of the subcompact, Regal attempted a piledriver but received a back drop on the roof.
Regal then delivered a piledriver on the roof. The sound you just heard was CRUNCH!
1-2-3. Regal won.
Summary: As a match it was OK. As a brawl, it was awesome.
After the match, the Bruiser tossed the bumper at the driver’s side window of the subcompact and shattered it too. Heenan’s last line of the segment: “That’s my (rental) car!” D’oh!
Match 4 for the WCW World title: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (champion w/ Woman and Elizabeth) versus the Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart)
Again Flair greeted Debra McMichael sitting at ringside. Mongo wanted to drill a permanent hole through him.
Eric noted that the Giant was only 24 years old (actually 25) and was being recruited by the Detroit Lions. Impressive!
Gorilla press slam by the Giant put the champ down on the mat.
A cross-corner whip by the Giant caused a Flair flip down to the floor.
After giving Flair a cross-corner whip, the Giant missed a back elbow.
Flair then mounted the top turnbuckle, but…
Sing it with me…♬…he came down the haaaaaard waaaaay!...♬
Vertical suplex by the Giant was followed by a chokeslam attempt.
However, Flair was caught up in the ropes and able to block it.
As both Woman and Elizabeth distracted referee Randy Anderson, Flair hit a home run in downtown Johannesburg on the Giant. OUCH!
While Hart distracted Anderson, Flair removed a foreign object from his knee pad and knocked the Giant out.
Flair applied the figure-four leg lock, but the Giant woke up and grabbed Flair by the throat.
As Woman belted blood-curdling screams, the Giant delivered a chokeslam.
WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!
Summary: Flair is one of the few wrestlers out there who could get *** out of the Giant.
After the match, Hart leaps into the Giant’s arms then runs a victory lap within the ring. Okerlund enters the ring to interview the new champion.
To close the show, Eric mentions that the Giant will now defend the WCW World title against Sting at Slamboree. Gee, I’m glad that match was already booked.
Conclusion: For a 7pm Nitro, this was a great wrestling show. The fact that it was not in the same timeslot as RAW and they gave us this good of a show astounds me. Next week’s show is also a 7pm Nitro, so let’s hope it’s just as good. What’s on RAW?
TV Rating: 2.10
WWF Monday Night RAW
Live from Sioux City, IA
Airdate: April 29, 1996
Attendance: 4,000 (3,200 paid)
Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler
From IYH last night, Davey Boy Smith yelled at Dok Hendrix and Gorilla Monsoon about Shawn Michaels wanting to sleep with his wife, Diana and stated: “I can’t wait for (May) 26th.” He tried to interrupt Michaels in his post-win celebration, but WWF officials stopped him.
Prior to the first match, we see highlights of what Mankind did to the Undertaker last month.
Match 1: Mankind versus Bart Gunn
After giving Gunn a cross-corner whip, Mankind missed him and rammed his shoulder into the ring post.
Mankind attempted the Mandible claw, but Gunn left the ring.
After a slam, Mankind missed an elbow drop.
As Gunn laid near the apron, Mankind gave him a baseball slide sending him to the floor.
After a commercial break, Mankind tossed Gunn over the top rope to the floor.
Running knee in the corner by Mankind followed by a guillotine leg drop on the bottom rope.
I guess Mankind was hungry after the leg drop because he made himself taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Tijuana train wreck at Rebo’s.
Left hand off the ropes by Gunn knocked Mankind down.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a missile dropkick for 2.
After a slam, he mounted the top turnbuckle again and hit the big elbow for 2.
After reversing a cross-corner whip, Mankind delivered a back elbow.
As Gunn pounded on Mankind, the latter applied the Mandible claw.
Summary: While the outcome was never in doubt, Bart Gunn did well for himself in defeat.
After the match, the soothing music calms the savage Mankind.
Backstage, Jim Ross tries to interview a worn down Bart Gunn. Suddenly Mankind attacks him again and reapplies the Mandible claw.
Savio Vega joins the broadcast team to perform color commentary on the next match. He makes a public challenge to Austin to a Caribbean strap match.
We revisit Savio’s loss in the Intercontinental title match last week thanks to Austin.
Match 2: Stone Cold Steve Austin (w/ the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase) versus Scott Taylor
Snap suplex by Austin followed by a giant swing.
Austin then mounted the second turnbuckle and delivered an elbow.
Back elbow by Austin preceded the Million Dollar Dream.
Summary: Showcase match for Austin.
After the match, Vega grabbed the house microphone and challenges Austin for the strap match at the PPV. After Austin declines the offer, Vega jumps in the ring and whips Austin with the strap.
RAW is sponsored by M&Ms.
In the ring Vince interviews the “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith with his wife Diana and Jim Cornette. Vince then introduces Shawn Michaels like he was the Second Coming. Jose Lothario joins HBK. Emphatically, Michaels touts his latest accomplishments including last night’s victory. Abruptly Cornette interrupts Michaels, calls him a pervert, and states that Michaels wants to sleep with Diana Smith. Cornette asks Diana to confront Michaels and refers to him as a “fornicator.” Diana tells Michaels that she knows that he wants her. Michaels refutes that statement. Subsequently, she slaps the taste out of his mouth. Before the segment ends, Michaels drops the bomb with “I guess we know who wears the pants in the Smith family.” Yikes! A pull-apart brawl between Smith and Michaels ensues.
Next week on RAW “Wildman” Marc Mero faces the 1-2-3 Kid. Also, the Undertaker will square off against Owen with Goldust on color commentary.
Match 3: The Godwinns (w/ Hillbilly Jim) versus the New Rockers
According to Vince, the winner of this match receives a title shot against the Bodydonnas.
Before the match began, Sunny cut a promo backstage.
As Henry distracted referee Tim White, the New Rockers double-teamed Phineas until he went hog wild.
Ahem. Pardon me.
A forearm by Jannetty to Phineas’ back resulted in a right hand knocking Jannetty down.
Meanwhile Sunny came to the ring with the World tag team title belts.
As the crowd chanted “Sunny,” Cassidy gave Henry a back elbow.
After a snap mare, Jannetty mounted the second turnbuckle, came down, and ate boot.
Cross body block by Cassidy took both he and Phineas over the top rope to the floor.
As Henry tossed Jannetty outside the ring, White counted Phineas and Cassidy out.
Summary: That star was solely for Sunny. The rest of the match was mistimed and terrible.
In a dark corner of the arena, Jim Ross interviews Mankind who describes the effect of his finishing hold.
Match 4: Ultimate Warrior versus Isaac Yankem (w/ Jerry Lawler)
This was Warrior’s RAW wrestling debut.
Vince mentions Warrior University with more details this Saturday on WWF Mania.
Clothesline in the corner by Warrior who then tossed Yankem over the top rope to the floor.
A series of clotheslines by Warrior preceded a flying shoulder block.
Splash by Warrior got the pin.
Summary: Showcase match for Warrior.
After the match, Warrior tosses Yankem over the top rope to the floor again. Lawler is not impressed.
Conclusion: RAW, with no competition, didn’t display everything they could have with this show. While they did set the table for the PPV with Michaels-Smith and Austin-Vega, the matches minus Mankind/Gunn were awful. With Nitro shuffled to 7pm EST again next week, I hope RAW won’t be this poor again.
TV Rating: 3.90
Who won? While not head-to-head, RAW dominated Nitro probably because people were accustomed to watching wrestling at 9pm rather than 7pm. With that being said, Nitro was the better program. I wonder what happens next week.